Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has warned his Finnish counterparts that Russia would deliver an unspecified response to NATO’s increased activities in the Baltic Sea region.
Finland is participating in a major NATO naval Baltic Sea exercise, Baltops, that started this weekend and will run for three weeks. Forces from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK, and US will be participating in the annual drill. The UK has sent The Royal Navy’s flagship, the helicopter carried, HMS Ocean, to participate.
Finland, which has participated in the annual exercise for the past twenty years, has allowed NATO troops to land on it’s territory as part of the exercise.
The Finnish decision has irked the Kremlin. In a press conference with his Finnish Foreign Minister, Timo Soini, Lavrov said that Russia “will invoke its sovereign right to guarantee its security with measures proportionate to the current risks. I am confident that our Finnish friends and neighbors also understand this.”
Soini said that Finland was taking emergin “security challenges” seriously and is cooperating closely with NATO, and will be expanding cooperation with Sweden, which recently ratified an agreement to deepen its own cooperation with NATO.